Sunday, July 31, 2011

From the Bear into the Mouth of the Wolf

So we're all moved in to our new home. Well, things are unpacked, but we're still shuffling things about trying to find a good compromise between our stuff and the owners'. Two households crammed together.

Yes, the shine has gone off the apple a bit. While I love being in a family home, it's another family's home and we still feel like guests or invaders at the moment. Isä says it's like being on holiday, you can't quite relax into the place because you know you're not staying and it's not yours. 

Good news is the bedroom situation is working out well. The Weans have settled into their new room, all three of them without too much trouble. 

And we are sleeping in our own room on our own, well for most of the night, Foo keeps waking before everyone else and comes in with us around 6am. I love the brightness and the French door/balcony thingie of our room. After a year of sleeping underground, it's nice to see the morning light.

And Bumpshie is sleeping well, usually only waking once in the night for a wee drink and then back to sleep no bother. The boys are a bit unsettled, but they are so tired tonight after all the excitement of the move, I hope they sleep through.  

Things I miss from the old house - the big double walk in shower wetroom. There is no way to beat that except turning the sauna into a big bath. The space, the main floor was much bigger than this place and every little pile of toys mounts up now. 

The utility room. The washer and dryer are on the main floor now which is good, but they're in the bathroom which is already small as it is, so there's no space to spread out. Which means I'll have to put clothes away as I wash them. Bother. 

What I like about this house - the bedrooms all on one floor, the more accessible back garden - though Bumptious is taking off across the rocks every chance she gets. 

The neighbours are really lovely and we've met a few in the past few days, even a cute set of twins Foo's age. Called Sofi and Mint (ok, the Finnish word for mint, Minttu, but it's still a giggle). 

We have a fireplace and I can't wait to try that out in the coldest of darkest Finnish winter nights. The kitchen is small but has lots of storage.

The storage in this place is amazing, I will never be able to go back to chest of drawers again. This is the kids' cupboard, not even half full. The owners had enough room to stash their futon cushions on top and there's more open storage to the sides.
The feel of the place: the owners are well-travelled and intelligent, their bookshelves are amazing to browse, even if 70% are in Finnish. They have African art everywhere, houseplants (I have houseplants again), colourful rugs, old but well loved basic furniture. It's a lovely house, but we are just borrowing it.

I'm hoping this is the beginning of a happy new chapter and that we will settle in to our new life here. We've fallen on our feet in this crazy country, hopefully our luck will continue. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Adventures

More sun, more leikkipuistos, more pools. But some other fun things as well.

At the weekend we took the kids to the Science Museum in Vantaa called Heureka! We had been last autumn and it is fun, but this time it had an added attraction - moving, roaring Dinosaurs. Mousie loved them, but Foo wasn't so sure. The first time through they were fun, the second time their roaring began to make him nervous, the third time he was almost hysterical. But he was happy to see them from a distance later on.

The boys ran riot. Foo was less concerned with the science experiments you could try and just wanted to knock things down and run about. Mousie spent time trying things, but enjoyed the cushions you could make into a big cube. We also got our faces put on coins.

Yesterday we finally caught up with some friends we haven't seen since the beginning of the year. Foo used to play with their little girl E all the time. It was a match made in heaven, their eyes met across the leikkipuisto, they ran up to each other and gave each other a big hug and then ran off to the sandpit. And have gotten along really well ever since, though they don't understand a word the other says.

We went up to their summer cottage in the north of the city. What a brilliant idea, why we don't do this in the UK, I'll never understand. 350 little cottages on small, but usable plots of land, no bigger than my allotment. Running water, but not inside, composting toilet, a daily grocery van comes by. The river is a five minute walk away. Garden is full of berries. Amazing. Will try and post some of the pictures I took later. Trying to do a photo reportage on the summer cottages.

The mum K went back to work, so I haven't seen her as much. She's been run off her feet, so it was nice to her in a more relaxed atmosphere. We picked berries, all the kids went mad for them, including Bumpy who was eating them faster than I could pick. We swam in the river. Mousie put on water wings and a ring and swam around a bit by himself. Foo just stayed near the shore. Bumptious dug in the mud and ate sand. That nappy'll be fun.

Then we had a lovely BBQ'ed lunch and strawberries and ice cream. And justrelaxing in the garden, letting the kids play on the hammock and in the leikkimokki, extra-large self-built playhouse, with E and her sister H. Our friends didn't build the cottage, but everything else. I'm continually amazed by the self-sufficiency of the Finns and the Scandinavians in general.

Isa came limping along at the end. He's injured his ankle somehow, but is unable to not use it. So he got to sit in the shade for a while. Now we have found the cottage we'll try and get back before our friends come back home the end of August. They live there for most of the summer, it's close enough for them to commute to work, but to still be on holiday.

So we're having a quite day today, hiding from the sun. Over the weekend I'm going to pack anything that's not nailed down or needed in the next week. We move next Friday.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Forecast is . . .

What's been happening? Canoeing, taking the kids to the beach and the leikkiepuistos, the Natural History Museum to get out of the sun, BBQs, typical Finnish summer stuff.

We're also slowly getting ready to move in 20 days or so. Smaller house, not as neatly done, but better layout (bedrooms all on one level) and in the same neigbourhood.

And we've been doing a round of doctor's visits for the Foo. He's having problems with speech and walking and has seen a Speech Therapist who's happy to leave him for now and see how he develops, and a Physio. Next stop an Occupational Therapist. He's fine in himself, a true Gemini toddler - brilliantly happy and ferociously angry one minute to the next, just needs a bit more help developing his coordination and motor skills. Trying not to worry too much, just give him the extra time and support he needs to figure things out.

Bumpshie is walking now, with a drunken sailor/ zombie kind of gait, but it gets her around. And she has reached that cheeky 'shake her head no when she knows she's doing something she shouldn't but does it anyway stage'. Wanna kill her when she messes with our computers or climbs up the stairs or out the door, but she's so damn cute.

And Mousie has learned to draw recognisable pictures, no longer just scribbles and solid blocks of colour. Think he's been practicing at nursery as he started doing it all of the sudden. Spent this evening with me drawing characters from Toy Story.

I'm sick of the sun, constant and melting, and of standing in leikkiepuistos in it. With no shade or if you find a tiny bit the mosquitoes find you.

The Foo loves the water, but I've tried to keep him to only going in it when Bump is asleep, but have found a shallow one that he can walk all the way across in and it only comes up to his knees, so good for his legs, but less possibility of him falling over in it. Mouse likes to run off and do his own thing and Bumpshie just wants to crawl everywhere she shouldn't. So I'm knackered most of the time with chasing them as they try and run off in 3 different directions.

Forecast of rain tomorrow. It better be torrential. I want an excuse to stay indoors.
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